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Kitchen Designer Rob Klein On Getting A Kitchen Right


As one of the hardest working rooms in a home and most expensive the kitchen is one place to get it right from the beginning.  Recently I had a conversation with award winning Indianapolis kitchen designer, Rob Klein, president and owner of Conceptual Kitchens & Millwork, to talk about how to get a kitchen right.

Rob is a designer’s designer and a client advocate.  His beautiful kitchen’s show the adept hand of an artist, focused on every detail but not so caught up in design minutia he forgets the goal: a usable kitchen.  He was pleased I called his kitchens relevant.  (Rob is the designer of our “inspiration kitchen” from the beginning of the month.)

Where do you see people getting off track when it comes to kitchens and design?

“Lets start with appliance placement.  In today’s kitchens they make appliances for just about everything the client wants, so you really have to space plan the appliances correctly for the CLIENT…  forget triangles.”  Where should someone start when designing a kitchen?

Let the appliances drive the design, this is harder than it sounds.  I am not afraid to tell people to move walls, windows, or door openings if it will make the kitchen great.”

“Second step for me is to design the style of the kitchen, I am talking door styles, moldings, and all the details.  I do not get lazy when it comes to my designs.  I do not let the manufactures take over, I think some designers stop and let the manufactures build the kitchen like they generally do.  To me this produces what I call a catalog kitchen.”You won’t find this microwave placement in a “catalog kitchen.”  More than one of Rob’s clients has found this a useful solution.

“Third, its all about the proportions.  As people, what we find attractive is proportion; yes color comes into play and so does door style, but if you want to talk about drop dead sexy it all about the proportion.”  What is your feeling on double ovens?  So many times people install them, thinking they have to have them and they are used less than the dining room.

“Ahhhh the double oven conversation, love this one. Generally I try to turn the question around,  do you really want to design your kitchen around two or three holidays?  What about the other 363 days of that year?”  Personally, I’ve found a warming drawer more useful than a second oven.

“What I really like is the use of a speed oven and a single oven combination or split configuration.  To me this is most practical and you can throw in a warming drawer for families on the go.  What a speed oven  (click to learn more) does is gets rid of the microwave, it is a microwave/oven/combination cooking.  The beauty of the design is how small it is, and clients at first say its too small.  However it gets to 375 in about five minutes, and it does everything well. ”

“One last comment is, the double oven is only important if the client wants duel fuel, gas for baking and electric for cooking.”  Love the upholstered cabinetry and nail-head trim.  How’s this for making it unique?

Rob clearly loves what he does.  His attention to detail is appreciated by all of his clients which is achieved through his perceptive listening skills.  His kitchens truly are one of a kind, they are built for and around his client’s lifestyle.  Beautiful, timeless and relevant what every good kitchen strives to be.

Photographs courtesy of Conceptual Kitchens & Millwork.

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